Community in action: capturing a perfect picture, Huron Church News April 2016

Photos of your community in action can be an ideal way to tell your story. But sometimes it can be hard to capture a picture that communicates the message you want to share. Whether it be for privacy, logistical, or quality reasons, stock photos can be a preferable solution.

First, isolating your parish’s “story”, who you are and what you do in the world, is an essential part of your communication strategy. Selecting the right image to tell that story can profoundly drive your web traffic and even lead to new-comers on a Sunday morning.

A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words. This point was driven home this past September as millions of people saw the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi lying on a beach in Turkey. This image moved thousands of people across the Diocese of Huron to join with thousands more across Canada to open their homes and lives to refugees from this humanitarian crisis.

We were aware of the refugee crisis prior to seeing the image, much like the world is aware of the church and the work we do to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world. Yet an image can move people to open their homes, or even to join a church.

Selecting the images you use to tell your story is critical. Sharing images of a youth group worshiping with a praise band, or a collection of young families is fine, if that is part of your story. But if your parish is elderly, appreciates Gregorian chant and sings hymns accompanied an organ, then you are not telling your genuine story. Newcomers want to know who you are, not who you aspire to be. And if they feel they have been misled, they may not return and you may be missing out on attracting those who would be a fantastic fit for your community.

A good rule of thumb when deploying an image on your website is to use one every 250 words. It helps to properly space images and avoids the over use of images while also helping to tell your story.
Images are a great way to help tell your story in the digital realm. Following some simple rules can go a long way to communicate your particular story. Just keep in mind some useful tips: one image for every 250 words, always purchase your image to fairly compensate the artist and most importantly, have the image tell your story and avoid Exodus 20:16.

The bus factor – who holds critical information in your parish? Huron Church News March 2016

If a bus hit you tomorrow how would it affect your church?

This may sound like an odd question, but in business management, and especially in the field of software development, the bus factor is a critical measurement of this exact question. That is, how is information concentrated, and, if someone were suddenly removed from the equation, how would it impact the team or organization?

Where two or three are gathered, they will know all the passwords.

In my work with parishes around the diocese over the past few years, I have discovered that most churches have a very low bus factor, often a bus factor of one. This means that only one person has information that is critical to the parish. This is often passwords or log-in information for social media accounts, ownership over the parish’s web address, or access to critical email addresses or web/hosting services.

Often, the person who has this information is a parishioner and not even parish staff, wardens, or clergy. In many cases, ownership of domain names and web hosting has been left with a past member of the parish.

This is a dangerously low bus factor. Losing control of accounts can be frustrating and delay or completely stop critical activities of the parish. It can lead to having to reboot and redesign websites, social media accounts and pursuing complex processes to regain access to lost accounts.

It is good practice to keep all necessary passwords and information for digital accounts and configurations with the parish so wardens always have access if necessary. Secondly, all renewals for accounts, web hosting services and domain registration ought to be through the parish and not personal credit cards.

Ultimately, your parish should practice good Christian theology when it comes to bus factor: where two or three are gathered, they will know all the passwords.